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Inter-Ocean Tours

Trips for Divers

P.O. Box 27116
Oakland, CA 94602
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510-638-3448 / 800-345-7159
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The Western Pacific Ocean

Japan, Southeast Asia, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Australia are included in the Western Pacific Ocean.

Australia Borneo (Malaysia)
Chuuk (Truk)
Indonesia
Japan Kosrae Palau Papua New Guinea
Philippines Solomon Islands Yap


Pacific Ocean

AUSTRALIA Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
The World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef comprised of 3,000 individual reefs and coral islands along 1500 miles of the Queensland coast. It's the only living organism that can be seen from space and is home to a myriad of sea creatures including dolphins, turtles, dugongs and more than 1,500 species of fish.

Fly to Cairns by way of Sydney on Qantas and United, on Air New Zealand by way of Auckland, and Air Pacific by way of Nadi. Stopovers can be arranged.

Cairns and Port Douglas, Queensland are the departure points for many dive boats which travel to the Cod Hole, the Ribbon, Holmes, Bougainvillea Reefs and into the Coral Sea. Heron and Lady Elliot Islands are located on the reef and offer boat diving from the shore.

South of Cairns, coastal Townsville and beautiful Magnetic Island offer fantastic snorkelling and diving. One of the best-known diving sites is the wreck of the SS Yongala. The ship sank in 1911 but was not discovered until 1958, having lain undisturbed for almost 50 years.

South of the Great Barriar Reef is the Whitsundys also with water in the 70s.

Water temperature is high 70s. The rainy season is from December to April in their summer. In June and July Minke whales visit the Ribbon Reefs.

On land, rainforest treks, canopy tours, river rafting, hiking and other activities are available.

Further South Kangaroo Island, Lord Howe Island, and Tasmania offers cold water diving like Northern California. To explore the giant kelp forests, sponge gardens and caves or find sea dragons and handfish, check out the Tasmania Dive Trail. It lists the best sites along Tasmania’s east coast between Flinders Island and Bruny Island.

The waters off Kangaroo Island provide some of the best temperate-water diving in Australia. Descending to 20-24 metres, walls of Gorgonia corals, red, orange and white sponges are impressive. To add to the kaleidoscope of colour are some equally magnificent fish: Blue Devil, Harlequin, Truncate coralfish and Boarfish. A spectacular sight is the elusive Leafy Sea-dragon that is endemic to these waters. Over 50 recorded shipwrecks have occurred around the Island's coastline, ranging from the 5,000-tonne freighter, Portland Maru, wrecked in 1935, to the 500-tonne sailing barque, Fides, wrecked in 1860. While not all of these wrecks are accessible, there are some opportunities to view part of the Island's tragic past.

To the west  out of Exmouth whaleshark diving is offered from late March to July.

'Spirit of Freedom'
Mike Ball's 'Spoil Sport'
'Taka'
'Tusa 5'


BORNEO (Malaysia)
Malaysia Borneo is famous for its wildlife and jungle. Especially Orang Utans in their protected habitats. The diverse colourful cultures, marine life, national parks, as well as Sabah's famous Mount Kinabalu.

Sipadan Island
Sipadan was described by Jacques Cousteau as having more marine life than any spot on the face of this planet. Sipadan Island is lying five degrees north of the equator in the Sulawesi (Celebes) Sea. It is an oceanic island formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct undersea volcano which rises 600 meters from the seabed. The geographic position of Sipadan puts it in the centre of the richest marine habitat in the world, the crux of the Indo-Pacific basin.

The turtle tomb, an underwater limestone cave with labyrinth of tunnels and chambers that contain the skeletal remains of turtles makes another unique feature for scuba diving enthusiasts.

Another one of the highlights on every diver’s wish list is catching the schooling barracuda and the big-eye trevally gathering in thousands and forming an outstanding tornado-like formation. If you’re lucky, you might just catch pelagic species such as mantas, eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and whale sharks.

Apart from mesmerizing big fishes beckoning divers to plunge into its clear blue waters, Sipadan also has an equally amazing macro life population. Different dive sites in the island promise different sets of opportunities to catch a glimpse of ocean lives such as garden eels, leaf scorpion fish, mantis shrimps, fire gobies, and various pipefish—Sipadan owes its reputation as one of the world’s ten best dive sites for its teeming marine lives and rich diversity.

The Malaysian government has decided that all existing onsite dive resort operators were to move their operations out of the Sipadan Island by 31st December 2004. The move is aimed at conserving and maintaining a balanced marine and land ecosystem on Sipadan’s environments. However, Sipadan will remain as a dive site and divers are to be ferried by operators operating from the mainland or nearby islands other than Sipadan and Ligitan.

Mabul Island
Located only about 15 minutes by speedboat from the famous Sipadan Island, Mabul has gained its own recognition as one of the best muck-diving (a term used to describe limited visibility dives at shallow sites with usually sandy bottoms) sites in the world. Mabul is a small oval shaped island fringed by sandy beaches and perched on the northwest corner of a larger 200-hectare reef. The reef is on the edge of the continental shelf and the seabed surrounding the reef slopes out to 25–30m deep.

Mabul is also renowned for its amazing array of macrolife, making it an underwater photographer’s dream location to capture some of the rarest ecological species on film. Flamboyant cuttlefish, blue-ringed octopus, spike-fin gobies, frogfish and moray eels are just some of the spectacular critters you will encounter beneath the waters of Mabul.

Kapalai
This unique and new dive destination is built on a sand bar only 15 minutes from Sipadan Island. The sand bar was many years ago the island of Kapalai, but erosion has taken its toll on what was once a truly beautiful island. The village sits on what is known as the Ligitan Reefs, a very extensive stretch bordering the deep and vast Sulawesi Sea.

The underwater scene is completely different compared to Sipadan's. It is a macroworld of great interest featuring rare subjects ranging from dragonets, fire gobies, partner & sleeper gobies, wasp or leaf fish, gurnards, the strange "little dragonfish" or seamoth, the tame crocodile fish, giant frogfish of different colors, eels, rays...just to name a few.

Lankayan Island
Lankayan, a tiny jewel-shaped island located on the northeastern coast of Sabah, is part of the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA) and is surrounded blue-green waters and coral reefs. It is also one of Sabah's top diving spots.

The availability of jungle interior and interesting diving attracts both divers and non-divers alike to Lankayan.

14 dive sites including the Lankayan Wreck, all only minutes away from the island, offer magnificent displays of marine life ranging from giant groupers to tiny ribbon eels. Enormous whale sharks are regularly sighted between March and May, and the island is also a nesting site for green and hawksbill turtles. You can watch as the baby turtles are released back into the sea.

Layang-Layang Island
Layang-Layang, known as "Swallows Reef" is an atoll situated in the South China Sea 300km north-west of Kota Kinabalu. The island is man-made and was constructed for the Malaysian Navy and later developed for the only dive resort, Layang-Layang Island Resort.

The island location offers absolute isolation, luckily there is an airstrip with regular flights from Kota Kinabalu, which is the only mode of transport for guests visiting Layang-Layang. The extreme location of Layang-Layang, the pristine reefs, excellent visibility, steep walls down to 2000km and regular sightings of pelagics has given Layang-Layang a much deserved reputation of being one of the top ten dive locations in the world.

With resident schools of barracuda and big-eye trevally and frequently seen green and hawksbill are plentifull and healthy with sea fans strecthing to more than three meters across that filter plankton from the passing currents.

The 20m deep lagoon has some great macro creatures to be found including seahorses, cuttlefish and pipefish but it is the pelagics visiting the outer walls that truly excite divers. Schools of scalloped hammerhead sharks, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks and the occasional threshers and silvertip sharks can all be seen.

Stingrays are also regular visitors including manta rays, pygmy devil rays, marbled rays and eagle rays. Rare sightings such as whale sharks, orcas and melon headed whales have all been seen ove the last few years. Spinner and bottlenose dolphins frequently follow the dive boats to each location and divers are sometimes rewareded with snorkeling and diverse fish life and visiting pelagic marine life.

To make your resort choices harder, there are Labuan in the Bay of Brunei for wrecks, the Mantani Resort with pristine reef drift diving, inner reef muck diving and 3 wrecks.
 
'Celebes Explorer'
Kapalai Dive Resort
Lankayan Resort
Layang Layang Island Resort
Sipadan Water Village

JAPAN
Unknown to most divers in the world, Japan offers variety of diving. In the north there are kelp forests like northern California. Off the Tokyo Bay the cold current and warm current meet, and it offers the diversity of marine life. 100 miles south to Tokyo, Izu Peninsula is dive area where divers in Tokyo visit, and water temperature varies from 60s to 80s through year. During summer time the Black current brings creatures from the South Pacific: frog fish, pipe fish, and lion fish to name a few. Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands, and Okinawa Islands are sub tropic and offers 80F water year around. Ogasawara water is another Humpback whale mating area like Hawaii during winter, and it is sperm whale habitat year around.

Fish Eye (Ogasawara Island)
Ose-Kan (Izu Peninsula)

MICRONESIA
MicronesiaThe Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a grouping of 607 small islands in the Western Pacific about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii, lying just above the Equator. Generally speaking, FSM comprises what is known as the Eastern and Western Caroline Islands. While the country's total land area amounts to only 270.8 square miles, it occupies more than one million square miles of the Pacific Ocean, and ranges 1,700 miles from East (Kosrae) to West (Yap). Each of the four States centers around one or more "high islands," and all but Kosrae include numerous atolls.

The islands of the FSM are the result of volcanic activity millions of years ago resulting in islands and atolls of incredible variety. Some are tips of mountain peaks thrust above the surface and now surrounded by fringing reefs. Others are atolls -- islands that have sunk beneath the surface, leaving a ring of coral barrier reef and tiny island islets encircling a coral and sand lagoon. And, still others, are mixtures of atolls and high rigged islands within a lagoon.

The climate in the FSM averages 80° F year round, with highs in the high 80s and lows in the high 70s. Rainfall is heaviest during the summer months. The rainfall on each island varies, however, so check with the local visitor authority for anticipated dry and wet seasons. Trade winds come mainly from the northeast from December through June. Light tropical clothing is the norm year 'round in the FSM.

Travel to the FSM is available via Hawaii or Guam through Continental Airlines.

The Water Temperature is around 81 F degrees (28 C degrees) all year round. It is warm enough to wear just a thermo skin, or 3mm neoprene suit.

The visibility often exceeds 150 feet (50 meters) and can top 200 feet. Where there are currents visibility varies from 30 feet (10 meters) up to 100 feet (30 meters) with the average being about 50 to 60 feet.

CHUUK (Truk, Micronesia)
Chuuk LagoonChuuk (also known as Truk) lagoon is another of Micronesia's incredible undersea phenomena. The giant lagoon is almost 40 miles in diameter and reaches depths of 300 feet. Aside from the sheer beauty of the undersea coral reef beneath the clear water, the bottom of Chuuk lagoon is the final tomb for more than 100 ships, planes and submarines--the legacy of a fierce World War II battle between the Japanese Imperial Fleet and Allied carrier attack planes. For the past 50 years these wrecks have rested on the bottom virtually undisturbed, creating the greatest underwater museum in the world. The warm tropical water, prolific marine life and ocean currents have transformed the wrecks into breathtakingly beautiful coral gardens and artificial reefs, home to hundreds of exotic marine animals and fish.
 
'Odyssey'
'Thorfinn'






KOSRAE (Micronesia)
KosraeKosrae, called “The Sleeping Lady” because of the shape of one of its picturesque mountains is covered with dense tropical jungles and high volcanic peaks, with lush river valleys and spectacular views. Kosrae covers an area of 110 km2 (42 square miles) and is roughly triangular in shape. It is the second largest island and the most easterly state of the Federated States of Micronesia. It is located at approximately 5º N Latitude and 163º E Longitude. This is almost 5000 km (3000 Miles) southwest of Hawai'i, and 14 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time.

Explore the ruined cities of Lelu and Menke. The island is surrounded by very healthy fringing reefs teeming with splendidly colorful tropical fish feeding off the spectacular corals. Visibility exceeds 100'—perfect for spotting paddling sea turtles and large rays winging their way through the blue waters. The coral reefs, which slope steeply into the clear blue depths, are one of the great attractions of Kosrae.

Beautiful hard coral gardens punctuate the eastern side of the island. On the west, the gardens give way to plunging walls. Sharks, dogtooth tuna, barracuda schools and other exciting ocean citizens cal all be encountered along the reef's edge.

Equally attractive are its warm-hearted people. Visitors leave here with vivid memories and a yearning to return.

Kosrae Nautilus Resort
Kosrae Village Resort

YAP (Micronesia)
YapYap is located in the Western Pacific, stretching from 6 to 10 degrees North Latitude and 137 to 148 degrees East Longitude in the Western Caroline Islands. Yap is one of the four States that make up the Federated States of Micronesia and is some 450 miles southwest of Guam, and 360 miles northeast of Palau.

 Yap is world famous for it's large population of resident manta rays. On Yap a manta dive does not mean diving hoping for a manta encounter, it means diving to see the mantas.

There's much more to diving in Yap than just Manta Rays, however. Yap's outer reefs abound with species of tropical reef fishes, invertebrates and corals. When coupled with the abundance of larger species like mantas, sharks, and turtles, Yap is a paradise for the underwater photographer or videographer. More than 200 species of hard and soft corals form the reefs of Yap.

Yap Caverns, at the southern tip of the island offers a truly spectacular dive with an array of caverns, swim throughs and pinnacles populated by Lionfish and sleeping whitetip reef sharks. Large schools of Huge Bumphead Parrotfish are often seen here.

The reefs on the East side of the island (windward side) feature gently sloping terraces with one of the most diverse selections of hard corals in Micronesia. The west side of the island (lee side) is composed of a series of vertical walls starting in 15 feet of water and plunging straight down hundreds of feet. The visibility on the reefs usually exceeds 100 feet and frequently is over 150 ft.

Many species of marine creatures that are rare in some parts of the world are plentiful in Yap. Dive sites such as Lionfish Wall offer a chance to experience the beauty of a pristine coral reef. One perpetual favorite of divers is the colorful clownfish. Five species can be seen in Yap. Some of the anemones they live in are over four feet across and host dozens of clowns.

Manta Bay Hotel
Trader's Ridge Resort

PALAU
Far to the southwest of Micronesia the Republic of Belau (the traditional name) consists of an archipelago of 343 islands, spread north to south over 100 miles form the atoll of Kayangel to the island of Angaur plus five tiny islands, known as the southwest islands. Palau's profuse, unspoiled reefs offer a wealth of marine life, coral formations and wrecks. Dives begin in knee deep water and plunge straight down to depths of 1000 feet and more. Blue holes, huge caverns and an immense variety of rare and exotic marine species are easily accessible in clear water with visibility exceeding 200 feet. Vast numbers, not found anywhere else in the world, of large pelagic predators, sharks, turtles, dolphins and many species of migratory fish gather here at a unique crossroads of three of the world's major ocean currents. Land locked marine lakes, accessible from the sea through tunnels beneath the island's steep shorelines, are home to rare jelly fish, anemones and soft corals.

'Big Blue Explorer'
'Palau Aggressor'
Palau Pacific Resort
Sam's Tour

PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Papua New GuineaLying just south of the equator, 160km north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is part of a great arc of mountains stretching from Asia, through Indonesia and into the South Pacific. This fascinating land boasts more than 600 islands and more than 800 indigenous languages (tok ples), and is home to the largest area of intact rainforest outside of the Amazon. Papua New Guinea consists of 4 regions made up of 19 provinces and the National Capital District, each with their own special character and cultures. Visitors will discover a wealth of tropical scenery, from the jungle-clad mountains of the highlands to the sandy white beaches and atolls of the coastal and island provinces.
 
Vast tracts of the country are wild and undeveloped, with magnificent scenery that ranges from pristine coral atolls to volcanic mountains, dense tropical rainforest and large rivers. The mainland is divided by the Owen Stanley Range, a massive central spike with peaks towering over 4000m. Great rivers begin their journey to the sea from these mountains, among them the mighty Sepik River, one of the world's longest waterways. Beneath the mountain chain, fertile coastal plains, flooded delta regions and mangrove swamps exist alongside broad sandy beaches and sheltered bays. The rugged mountain terrain and deep cave systems offer wonderful adventure opportunities for walkers, cavers and climbers, and there is canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the river and delta system.

The climate is typically monsoonal: hot, humid and wet year-round. There are defined wet (December to March) and dry (May to October) seasons, but both are subject to regional variation (especially in the islands). Rainfall, for example, varies tremendously: Port Moresby may experience an annual rainfall of 1000mm (39in) while Lae has over 4500mm (176in). In extreme rainfall areas, such as West New Britain, the annual rainfall can exceed 6m (20ft) a year. Temperatures on the coast are reasonably stable all year (hovering between 25° and 30°C/77 and 86°F) but humidity and winds are changeable. Temperatures drop at higher altitudes, and it can be very chilly in the Highlands.

Step into the past where the natives are getting a crash course from the stone age to the twentieth century.  While the natives of Fiji and Tonga and the Aborigines of Australia have had over a hundred years to get acquainted with us, the tribes of Papua New Guinea have had a mere thirty to forty years.
Most diving is from liveaboard boats; you must set aside extra vacation time to explore the Highlands and the Sepik River before leaving this magic and mysterious land.

Papua New Guinea relies on air transport probably more than any other country in the world and its rugged terrain extending from its coastal areas to its highlands. It has one International Airport in Port Moresby, the nations capital. Port Moresby provides air connections to all of the world's major cities, with direct flights to the Australia, Solomon Islands, Singapore, Philipines and Hong Kong. Cairns (CNS) and  Brisbane (BNE) are accesed by both Air Niugini and Airlines PNG, while Sydney (SYD), Singapore (SIN), Manila (MNL), Hong Kong (HKG), Honiara (HIR) and Nadi (NDI) have direct flight by Air Niugini only.

Divers discovered the fantastic diving in the Bismarck Sea and Milne Bay not more than twenty years ago. Located in the Indo-Pacific Area, Expects say that it has up to twice as many marine species as the waters of the Red Sea and up to five times as many as the Caribbean. Divers enjoy a huge diversity of dive sites including barrier reefs, coral walls (drop off), and coral gardens, patch reefs, fringing reefs, sea grass beds, coral atolls, and wreck dive sites. The wreck sites provide a collection of ships, aircraft and submarine wrecks from World War 2. The average water temperature varies from 25 degrees Celsius along the edge of the Coral Sea to 29 degrees Celsius in the Bismarck Sea. One can dive in Papua New Guinea all year round, with the high season generally from May to November.

'Chertan'
Mike Ball 'Paradise Sport'
'Spirit of Niugini'
Peter Hughes 'Star Dancer'

Loloata Resort
Tawali Resort
Walindi Resort

SOLOMON ISLANDS
Solomon IslandsThe Solomon Islands is third largest archipelago in the South Pacific, comprising 992 islands ranging from large landmasses with rugged mountains and virgin forests, to low lying coral atolls. They are scattered in a double chain of islands covering 1.35 million sq km of sea and extend for 1.667k, in a south-easterly direction from Papua New Guinea.

Tropical, with average daytime temperatures ranges between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius and high humidity. Evenings may be as cool as 19 degrees. Heavier rainfalls are between the months of October and April. There are no defined seasons, but November to May is known for the wetter months of which squalls and tropical cyclones may occur.

Here, Mother Nature weaves her watery spell amongst the wrecks of World War II. You will experience an extraordinary array of differing structures and bio-assemblage; including shallow and deep coral gardens with magnificent drop-offs, ledges and gutters, sharks, all manner of light game fish and an enormous range of reef fish. Turtles and, mantas and eagle rays are common sights, together with friendly Hammerheads.  Most of the diving here is done from liveaboard boats.

Fly into Brisbane or Nadi and connect to Honiara with Solomon Air or Air Pacific.

'Bilikiki'
'Spirit of Solomon'
Tulagi Resort
Uepi Resort